When Allison Tang, vice president of internal affairs of Princeton’s Graduate Student Government (GSG), tracked her spending for a week — as recommended by the Princeton Financial Literacy Initiative — she was surprised to learn the results.
“I was doing the math, and I was like, ‘Oh, I’m actually not making any money,’” explained Tang, a third-year student in the chemical and biological engineering department. “That was very concerning to me.”
But that will change soon. In January, the University announced an average increase of 25 percent in graduate fellowship and stipend rates, marking the largest one-year increase ever at Princeton. Stipends cover the 10 months of the academic year.
“Through GSG, I’ve heard so many concerns from students this year,” said Tang. “I think this is just a breath of relief.”
According to the University, the stipend rate will increase for doctoral candidates during the 2022–23 academic year, but exact rates will differ depending upon division and role. Currently, graduate stipends range from $30,475 to $34,800, but starting this August, they will grow to a range of $38,000 to $42,000.
“Through GSG, I’ve heard so many concerns from students this year. I think this is just a breath of relief.” — Allison Tang, vice president of internal affairs, Princeton Graduate Student Government
“The increases in stipend rates will ensure Princeton continues to attract and retain the very best graduate candidates from all backgrounds and from all over the U.S. and the world,” Cole Crittenden *05, acting dean of the Princeton Graduate School, said in a University announcement.
Students wondered if efforts by peers at other institutions, such as a 10-week strike at Columbia and a push at MIT to initiate a union election, may have played a role in the University’s decision.
“There was almost a certain poetry to it all, because it felt almost as if the Columbia grad students just won a stipend increase at Princeton in addition to Columbia,” said Tim Alberdingk Thijm, a fourth-year graduate student in the computer science department.
“I really feel pretty inspired by the work that’s gone on at MIT and peer institutions like Harvard and Columbia,” added Gaby Nair, a second-year graduate student in politics. “I think there’s a sense that there might really be a tide turning in higher ed.”